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Should I Use the Retractable Forklift in Warehouse?


The retractable forklift is an electric machine that performs the movement and maneuvers of turning and lifting by retracting the mast. Therefore, they move towards the machine’s center of gravity.

Thanks to this feature, they are more advantageous than counterbalanced forklifts, as they can work in narrower maneuvering aisles (± 2,700 mm free) and have better performance.

On the other hand, although the masts and forks are similar to the counterbalanced ones, to leave or pick up the pallet from the rack, the machine is positioned centrally facing the load unit and the mast moves outwards, which facilitates maneuvers. There are forklifts that can lift the load above 10 m, and it is possible to place help devices to facilitate maneuvering at the highest levels.

Because of all these advantages, they are currently the most used machines for working inside warehouses.

Retractable forklifts have lower foot pads where the front wheels are housed. The 1,000 x 1,200 mm pallets, picked up on the 1,000 mm side, fit between both pads, so there is no need to lose height on the shelves.

When pallets are wider or handled on the longer side, displacements should be made with the pallets placed over the wheels. This makes it necessary to provide wider aisles, so as not to lose capacity on the racks or, instead, increase the margins between the upper part of the pallet placed on the floor and the first spar of the rack (to avoid collisions with it), thus losing some height in the allocation space. All of these factors must be considered when designing the warehouse.

1. Chassis height + 200 mm.

2. Height of chassis.

3. First charge level.

4. Minimum margin of 50 mm.

5. Pallet height + chassis height + 100 mm minimum margin.


There is a version of retractable forklifts where the mast is fixed (does not retract) and the forks are extended to the pickup or allocation position, thanks to a system similar to a panto graph.

Although its presence in warehouses is less frequent, it is also a valid option and its use is similar to that of retractable mast forklifts. For Forklift Repair Click here

Double Depth Retractable Forklifts:

On the market there are available retractable machines capable of working on double-bottom racking. In addition to having a displace able mast, these models incorporate forks that also displace, which allows access to the double-deep pallet.

With the double-bottom retractable forklifts it is possible to achieve a significant increase in storage capacity.

As inconveniences, we can mention that their use makes them less accessible and that they are limited in terms of the load they can handle and the height of elevation they can reach.


Retractable Side Load Forklifts:

They are an evolution of conventional reach trucks in which a system through which the wheels can turn 90° has been enabled. With this, lateral and frontal displacements are achieved. Although they can handle pallets, they are ideal for long loads such as pallets or large volumes, profiles, tubes, etc.